("The Cocommunity" - Monthly APCC Newsletter
Volume 45, Series No. 8, 1 August 2015)
has taken over a century for a 360 degree revolution in change
of opinion about saturated fats that would in the next decade
be practically converting consumers, changing priorities of
food manufacturing companies and more importantly impacting
every mother’s kitchen with the positive facts endorsed
on which fats are the real risk to heart disease, and which
ones are not. Did the well-known nutrition researcher make
a mistake in the 1970s with the famous Seven Countries Study?
Were the initial epidemiological studies also incorrect in
associating saturated fats intake with heart disease risk?
It appears they may have judging from recent articles flooding
health news pages through social media, the Harvard Health
Publications and official releases from the fats and oils
Heart disease risk is attributed to high cholesterol to which
medical science has categorised the types of cholesterol.
LDL (low density lipoprotein) is referred to as the bad cholesterol
as it contributes to plaques that clog arteries causing cardiovascular
problems whilst the HDL (high density lipoprotein) is considered
good as it transports cholesterol away from artery walls contributing
to reduction in risk of heart disease. Saturated fats raise
HDL levels that positively counter the negative effects of
Coconut oil composes of more than 85% of saturated fats. Majority
of saturated fats are the medium chain triglycerides (MCT's)
of which lauric acid being the predominant fatty acid. Its
fatty acids profile, however, makes it as one of the most
discussed edible oils in terms of health-benefits it confers.
Coconut oil composes of saturated, mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated
fatty acids (SFA: MUFA: PUFA) at a ratio of 86.5: 5.8: 1.8
Yet the so-called ‘fat controversy’, as reported
in current issue of INFORM, is far from over even though recent
evidence as well as the re-evaluation of previous studies
including the examination of data on fats and cardiovascular
disease could not link to and questions the decades old claim
that dietary saturated fats are a risk to and cause heart
disease. Without conclusive clinical trials and scientific
evidence, the respective governments’ and their regulatory
dietary guidelines committees, such as in the USA, rely on
epidemiological data and may not adopt the scientific recommendations.
This may continue to place consumers at certain levels of
risk and uncertainty hence the importance of conducting well-targeted
research and clinical studies that are conclusive so the much-needed
facts are established to guide food safety policies and related
A gathering of physicians, nutritionists and experts of food
health and safety, in a first-time event will convene during
28-29 September 2015 in New Delhi for the International Symposium
on Quality Coconut Oil for Nutrition and Health, to determine
whether further studies are needed in relation to nutrition
and health aspect of coconut. The assurances from the findings
of the studies are not necessarily only for commercial purposes
but more importantly to dispel negative claims against coconut
oil so that in the first instance over 40 million families
in the world that grow and live under a coconut tree together
with millions more that drink and eat coconut are rest assured
of their wellbeing.
Consumption of Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) has increased seven-fold
in 10 years as indicated by export data received from the
Philippines. VCO production is also increasing income for
coconut farmers in India as reported recently. Global production
continues to increase as more countries move into VCO processing.
APCC is glad to announce the proposed theme for 2nd September
World Coconut Day to be ‘Coconut for Family Nutrition,
Health & Wellness’. Let us all take this opportunity
to promote the goodness of Coconut.